The Benefits and Challenges of Diversity Recruiting

By The Recruiting Division

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The Benefits and Challenges of Diversity RecruitingEconomic data shows increasing population and workforce diversity. Workforce diversity and diversity recruiting is lacking in key sectors including nonprofits and the federal government. Immigration, retiring baby boomers and the growing numbers of women in the workforce mean that there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the U.S. by 2050 according to census data.

Forbes Insights “Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workplace” report on global diversity and inclusion concludes that diversity and inclusion is critical for business success. NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, claims that employers need a diverse workforce to effectively meet customer needs.

Take a look at the numbers when it comes to workforce diversity:

  • The Center for American Progress reports that people of color made up 36 percent of the workforce in 2012, including Hispanics, African Americans and Asians, and women make up 47 percent of the workforce.
  • The Williams Institute reports that gay and transgender workers make up 6.28 percent of today’s workforce.
  • People with disabilities have a 15 percent unemployment rate and are underemployed.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that people of color own 22.1 percent of all businesses in the U.S., women own 28.8 percent of businesses and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce reports that five percent of all businesses in the U.S. have gay or transgender owners.

This means diversity recruiting will only become more important for business success and economic growth.

The Value of Diversity Recruiting

Take your diversity recruiting cue from the world’s top companies:

  • Sodexo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kaiser Permanente, Ernst & Young, MasterCard Worldwide, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Procter & Gamble made it to the top of the Diversity Inc Top 50 List for 2013.
  • Sodexo tops the list at number one and has had a Diversity & Inclusion program for 11 years, has a woman Global Chief Diversity Officer and a commitment and accountability to diversity recruiting objectives.

Merck puts diversity on the front of its careers page, celebrate and promote diversity in their workforce, and have company-wide diversity initiatives.

Even if you aren’t recruiting for companies like these, there are plenty of reasons to add diversity recruiting to your recruiting strategies.

Challenges of Diversity Recruiting

With all the benefits and value that diversity recruiting creates, why doesn’t every company practice diversity recruiting? It’s difficult to achieve, takes commitment, and has many forms. If you hire diverse candidates into a work environment that doesn’t support and interest them, you won’t have a diverse workforce. If your culture doesn’t include or develop diverse employees, you won’t be able to sustain a diverse workforce.

Diversity Recruiting Is Difficult

In “Diversity in Organizations,” Myrtle P. Bell explains that diversity and diversity recruiting requires a supportive climate because without it, the benefits diminish and negative consequences can result.

Diversity and diversity recruiting are difficult to achieve because the things that prevent workforce diversity are complicated and not always easily recognizable. For example, white men are much more likely to be in leadership positions like manager, executive, or board member, and their commitment to diversity is crucial. But white male managers probably do not have the same education and career experiences that minorities have and may not understand how to recruit and support diverse candidates, which is crucial to true diversity

Diversity Recruiting Takes Commitment

Forbes Insights report found that the responsibility for the success of diversity initiatives lies with senior management, and their commitment, accountability, and oversight is required to achieve true diversity.

Diversity recruiting can’t exist in a vacuum. It must be part of an organized diversity program for the best results.

Diversity recruiting is the first step in achieving true diversity, but if there is no support or plan for successful integration of diverse candidates, they will not stay and become an integral part of the organization.

There Are Many Kinds of Diversity

Diversity recruiting is much more than merely hiring more women or people of color. In a global economy, a diverse workforce is required to compete, manage growth, build a sound infrastructure, and maintain a healthy bottom line.

  • Diversity recruiting and programs focused on gender diversity are the most common, with Forbes Insights reporting 81 percent of their survey respondents indicated they have them.
  • Diversity programs focused on ethnicity, age, and race are also common.
  • Diversity recruiting also includes disability, nationality, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

Top companies such as AT&T, Intel, L’Oréal, Deutsche Bank, and Mattel that participated in Forbes Insights survey and report concluded that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to business success. But retaining diverse employees may be more difficult than diversity recruiting. Diversity hiring must be supported by a diversity recruiting strategy, workplace diversity training, and most important, a commitment to diversity from the top.

Andrew Greenberg is the founder and managing partner of Contract Recruiter, a leader in On-Demand recruitment solutions. 

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